If there was any doubt that rutting action is red hot in the Land of Lincoln after my 160-inch whopper yesterday, my buddy Tory Graver erased that with a dandy buck of his own this morning. Tory made a good shot on this great 8, so we'll both be heading back to Pennsylvania with lots of meat and trophy racks.
The scene Tory described this morning was surreal, with multiple bucks moving through the area in search of receptive does and lots of grunting and posturing. Shortly after Tory shot this buck, an ever bigger one showed up - you just never know when a real monster is going to show up in Illinois in mid-November. I also saw another whopper today when we were on our way out to meet Tory and track this buck. Amazingly, I saw this buck - I estimate he was about 160 - just 50 yards from where I shot my own 160 yesterday.
There is no doubt this is absolutely the height of hunting right now, and most of the locals expect things to taper off in three or four more days as the majority of does come into estrous and bucks lock them down. Until that happens, however, there will be plenty of archers in trees using everything in their bag of tricks to get the job done. Rattling, grunting, bleating and using estrus doe urine are all dynamite tactics right now to tip the odds in your favor. The big boys are definitely on the move, and don't get discouraged if you don't see anything. Remember it only takes 10 seconds of magic to turn your whole season around, and the buck of your dreams could be just around the corner.
Again, special thanks to Bob and Marsha Blair of Riverbottom Bucks (www.riverbottombucks.com) for such a great hunt and putting us on some awesome rutting action.